Game Breakdown: Trine

I was really surprised by this great game. I have NEVER had as many people walk by my desk and comment on what I am playing. “What game is that?” “Wow, that looks gorgeous”. Explaining the mechanics to them is also met with instant recognition of how good the concept is. I agree with their comments!

Value

I bought Trine on sale for $7.99. $8/8 hours for one play through = $1/h of entertainment. Awesome. Modern Warfare 2 $60/8h = $7.50/h. Trine was better value for my dollar, even at full price ($20/8 = $2.5/h).
Fun

What makes Trine so fun?

Story

Very simple and engaging story with three character archetypes and enough humor to not take it seriously. Very much a story book brought to life with a light hearted feel that reminded me of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time which was the last time that I played something with the “princess bride” effect. Games that feel like fables or fairy tales have a magical sense of fun and innocence in them even when they play with darker themes. The developers also had the courage to essentially wrap up the experience in one game. It doesn’t feel like it needs a sequel or that anything was rushed or missed.

Gameplay Mechanics

I think the design spells itself out with the characters and you owe it to yourself to download the demo and try out the first levels with the characters.

  • Knight – Sword to hit stuff. Shield to block. Down the road your sword is on fire, you can run and bash people with shields and you get a big lighting hammer. What more do you need?
  • Thief – Arrows. Grappling Hook. Swinging kick. Upgrade to flaming/exploding arrows, faster reload times and more arrows.
  • Wizard – Search for fireball…and end up drawing boxes, planks and eventually platforms.

Using these core mechanics, many physics and side scrolling battle encounters are created in a magical world. I have never seen a game play out so obviously since Portal. Great tutorials, fun experimentation, collectibles, secret areas and achievements.

Why do these features work together? Because of the great differentiation in a characters and the levels that force you to use the characters strengths.

Summary

I don’t think I have played a better “indie” game. I think this clever game deserves to be played if you don’t mind playing something a little more childish in theme. I probably enjoyed this equally to Modern Warfare 2 and in 5 years I would predict that I would be more likely to go back and play Trine as I doubt a game will do the physics genre better than Trine because MW2 will have many competitors. +1 to uniqueness!

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